This year we are driving north to south…
Watch for more information coming soon!
This year we are driving north to south…
Watch for more information coming soon!
Get ready for the holiday season! Celebrate with us at the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and Light Up Parade on Friday, November 24th! The Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held at Block 59, just south of the Livingston County Courthouse, at 5:45PM. Following the ceremony, the Light Up Parade will travel throughout our historic square and at its conclusion, Santa will take up residence at his Pontiac home.
An exciting addition for this year – The unveiling of the 1st Annual Winter Fest Tree Display! Look out for these beautifully decorated, 5ft evergreen trees sponsored by the community. They will be placed in the downtown planters and Block 59 to spread holiday cheer throughout our community.
Join friends and family in Downtown Bloomington for our annual holiday tree lighting and December First Friday: Live Window Vignettes!
Downtown Bloomington will feature live and static decorated windows for the holidays with a ton of holiday products and sales to entice you to stay downtown. Performing prior to and after the tree lighting will be the Nitsch Theatre Arts Rising Stars!
Local artists are teaming up with small businesses and roadside attractions in Funks Grove, McLean, and Atlanta, traversing historic Route 66 the weekend before Thanksgiving, for two full days of memorable fun, holiday spirit, and one-of-a-kind shopping options.
“Have Yourself A Funky Little Weekend” is spearheaded by artists’ troupe Artists of the Corn, composed of potters, illustrators, painters, fabric artists, jewelers, glass blowers, wood carvers, and more from Central Illinois and the greater Midwest.
When many of their markets were canceled in 2020, Artists of the Corn came together to start hosting their own shows in order to “keep artists arting.” This is their second year of promoting a market in tandem with local shops and roadside attractions—who will all be open within a short drive—for a full weekend of activities, highlighting all that historic Route 66, between Shirley and Atlanta has to offer!
The “Shuckin’ Awesome Holiday Art Market” will be their tenth show together and their fifth at Funk Farms Premium Beef in Shirley, a 15-minute drive from Bloomington-Normal. It will be held November 18th and 19th from 10am-4pm both days, and will feature more than 30 talented local and regional artists, hosted in the beautifully redesigned event space at Funk Farms Premium Beef.
Shoppers are invited to view and purchase stunning works, from paintings and prints to handmade bags and jewelry, textiles, pottery, glassware, candles, and much more. Shoppers will get a chance to meet the creators and hear the story and process behind each unique piece. Food from Funk Farms Premium Beef and Ropp Jersey Cheese will also be available for purchase in the FFPB shop, and the Bloomington Smoking Grill food truck will be on site for lunch and snacks.
This year there are 10 total locations participating, up from just five last year, including local boutiques, artisans, museums, and unique places to play. Locations:
Funk Farms Premium Beef
5959 N.1100 East Rd, Shirley, IL 61772
Open 10am-4pm both days
“Shuckin Awesome Holiday Art Market”
Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup
5257 Old Route 66, Shirley, IL 61772
Open 10am-5pm Saturday and 1pm-5pm Sunday
Offering lots of samples of baked goods and popcorn, a few new products, and artisan shop favorites like maple ramp seasoning, fruit leather, and johnny cake mix -all made on site- that you can pick up for gifts. Their signature maple sirup is gone for the season, but they do have their bourbon barrel aged sirup! They also carry fun Funks Grove and Route 66 souvenirs
Funks Grove Country Store
8047 E 550 North Rd, McLean, IL 61754
Open 10-3 both days
Showcasing holiday decor, antiques, primitives, and lots more “funky junk” in their shop just off Route 66.
McLean Depot Train Shop
266 Dixie Rd, McLean, IL 61754
Open 10am-5pm, both days
Saturday is Customer Appreciation Day, serving up chili, hot dogs, cake and snacks. As the oldest building in the village of McLean and one of two remaining stations by which the Lincoln Funeral train passed in 1865, it provides an interesting backdrop to modern day travel along Route 66 and perfect venue for the Model Railroad shop inside.
Arcadia: America’s Playable Pinball Museum
107 S Hamilton St, McLean, IL 61754
102 E Morgan St, McLean, IL 61754
Both Open Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 1pm to 8pm
Arcadia gets new games rotated in regularly from our collection of over 1500 games. Right now, our focus is to display the most memorable, entertaining pinballs and videogames from the 80s and 90s. We opened our sister arcade, Pinball Paradise across the street in 2016. Play old school games with the rustling of quarters in your pocket! Change machine on site.
Mt. Hope Township Community Hall & Museum
104 North Clinton St. McLean, IL
Open 11am-3pm both days
Dedicated on December 1, 1917, the Mt. Hope Community Hall was designed by architect A.T. Simmons of Bloomington. The unique building is still in use for special events and houses the Community History Museum, which tells the stories of McLean and its residents.
American Giants Museum
100 SW Arch St, Atlanta, IL 61723
Open 10am – 3pm both days
Experience the largest collection of Muffler Men in one place on Route 66! The new American Giants Museum presents the story of International Fiberglass which produced hundreds of animals and human advertising figures in the 1960s. See for yourself how they were made and check out the dozens of original advertising figures on display. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Arch Street Artisans
103 SW Arch St, Atlanta, IL 61723
Open 10am – 4pm Saturday and 10am to 3pm on Sunday
Route 66 items, hand-sewn items, vintage items, new fashion items, books, sport memorabilia, Pez
108 SW 1st Street, Atlanta, IL 61723
Open both days 10am to 5pm
Shoppers are treated to a cozy shopping experience with Christmas gifts, home decor, clothing and accessories, specialty foods, and a lot more.
See details here for each location, as well as an interactive map and information on past shows. Enjoy a “funky little weekend” in the grove and get in the holiday spirit with wonderful local artists and businesses!
Today we lost an amazing woman, Dorothy Seratt McMullin. Dorothy was truly unique. Dorothy passed away today, November 4th, in Arizona. Services are pending.
Dorothy was the first woman I met whose bluntness was offsetting and endearing at the same time. I was fascinated at how Dorothy could say something out of left field leaving me in shock and awe (and often the first response of “what the hell”) which would soften and mellow down to a simple statement: we (never I or you) WE NEED to do something about this. It wasn’t think about this, let’s brainstorm about doing this, it was WE NEED to do this. I had seen Dorothy quietly discuss an issue she felt was important and necessary, and I had talked with Dorothy when she was very, very empathetic about something. The one thing that I learned as part of the Route 66 Association of Illinois Preservation Committee was to LISTEN and THINK. Not about us. It’s not about our feelings about this. This is a simple statement of principle over personality. Over and over she literally beat me over the head with this simple rule: It isn’t personal, it’s not a criticism, this is a necessary project that is for the future. Not about you, not about me. It’s discerning what is important and making sure you do everything to make that project happen. No excuses, no procrastination.
Dorothy would follow up, and follow up, and be that quiet voice in my ear…“What are you doing about this?” Sometimes it came close to stalking, or “ear abuse,” maybe even semi-nagging, but it was never personal. It was important that WE DO SOMETHING NOW to save it for history. No glory just a lot of networking, going outside of our self-imposed limits as to what WE can do. I was lucky because both the late Lenore Weiss and Dorothy Seratt McMullen took their energy and taught me to put personalities aside and focus on preserving something for tomorrow. They taught me to watch and observe the people involved, but to keep focused on what was important. I may not make it to that particular “tomorrow” we were working on, but I would have tried. I learned how to step out of my comfort zone and (some of you will laugh at this) my shyness. Never thought of myself as a spotlight person, always a back-up singer making someone or something else look good. Dorothy was like a 2nd conscience, a poke in the ribs at times, a voice reminding me to get back on track and that we don’t have as much time as we think to save our historic jewels before they are gone.
Dorothy made the words audacity and tenacity a living part of my vocabulary.
I often talk about how I wish I had more videos of Ernie Edwards recalling his stories and his memories. With Dorothy if I had a video of her talking I would turn it into a holograph so she would be part of all future preservation and be known to up and coming Preservationists. That still small, but persistent, voice in the middle of the night, “So what are WE going to do about this?”
Dorothy was a widow, mother, grandmother. She taught convicts education in hard core prisons. Dorothy loved to gamble, she wrote lyrics to country western songs, she loved music. Dorothy bought a small RV and traveled with her cat. Dorothy was rehabbing a house in Joliet before she moved in with her daughter in Arizona. Dorothy wrote published papers that are used nationwide for projects that need to get on the National Register. Dorothy never took sole credit – it was always published with the names of everyone who worked with her.
Today, my brain is ringing with Dorothy’s “What are we going to do about it?”
Well, Dorothy, right now I’m going to have a deep, primal cry because you are gone. Then I’m going to laugh about what St. Peter is going thru at the pearly gates. I don’t know if Heaven Is ready for Dorothy.
As I look over my stack of “Dorothy” inspired Route 66 projects I feel you poking me in the ribs.
“I’m on it Dorothy, I’m on it.”
Past President of the Route 66 Association of Illinois (2007-2023)
The station will be closing for the season at the end of October, but will be open from 10-4 each day until then. Visit the station while you still can this year and check out the unique merchandise and some of the history of Odell.
December 2: 2p, 4p, 5:30p and 8p
Elkhart Historical Society Christmas Candlelight Services at Gillett Chapel
December 3: 2pm
Elkhart Historical Society Christmas Candlelight Service Matinee
The Elkhart Historical Society will host this year’s Christmas Candlelight Service with four performances on Saturday, December 2 and one afternoon performance on Sunday, December 3, at the St. John the Baptist Chapel located on Elkhart Hill. Each year’s Candlelight Service brings a new and fresh presentation, resulting in sell-out performances consisting of beautiful segments of music and inspirational script. Saturday performances are at 2 p.m., 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. Sunday’s matinee is at 2 p.m.
Titled “Christmas Advent,” this year’s theme is developed by Tim Searby of Lincoln, Illinois. Tim is well-known as a gifted musician, choir and drama director, and producer of countless musicales, including the very popular annual Harvest of Talents Annual Musical held in Lincoln, Illinois.
Tim has assembled a cast of impressively talented musicians, including a 6-voice chorale, trumpeters, cellist, and organist, along with a stunning angel dramatist and talented readers who will lead us into Christmas reflections. Add to this the aura of the stunning historic stone chapel, lit with candlelight, outdoor luminaria, and Christmas greens, and the complete experience will be the perfect beginning to your Christmas observances.
Combining the service with an optional delicious holiday meal with all the trimmings at Horsefeathers Wild Hare Café, before or after the service, can create a lasting memory with friends or family. Please let us coordinate the meal option when you reserve your service to complete your evening. Prior to calling, please go to the website for downloadable reservation forms with all the service and menu information times and prices: elkharthistoricalsociety.org
Any extra time between services and meals can always be spent exploring the quaint shops in the business district of Elkhart and be sure to visit on November 18 between 9a-5p for our annual Elkhart Village Christmas Open House, where special gifts, tasty treats and warm drinks are offered.
The Elkhart Historical Society membership information is also included as our dues for the 2024 year are now due and timed perfectly with the release of the 2024 calendar. A regular family or single membership is $25 and a Senior Citizen family or single is $20. A calendar without membership is $25. A free calendar is given with each new or renewed membership. Please consider joining, if you are not already a member, as many new projects are in the pipeline for 2024, and with it many new ways to enjoy Elkhart and its history.